Australian full-back Lachlan Coote’s off-season transfer from St Helens to Super League rivals Hull KR got off to the worst possible start when all of his furniture and possessions were seized en route.
A rugby league title winner in both hemispheres, ex-NRL star Coote was ready to move into his new home in East Yorkshire with his wife and two young children when he received a police called to tell him the moving van had been seized.
“I don’t think he had insurance,” Coote explained. “We had just collected the keys and everything was fine when we got a call from the police to say that everything had been seized and that we had to get our things from the depot.
“Thanks to Hull KR a few guys came to the rescue with vans. It was a pretty bumpy start but we finally got there.”
Coote, 31, has now moved to his new club but admits it was a heartbreak to leave the Saints, with whom he had won the grand final in each of his three seasons in England.
When his contract ended in November, the former north Queensland player was forced to consider his options when St Helens only offered him a 12-month contract as they sought to promote up-and-coming understudy Jack Welsby.
“It was a bit of a kick in the guts,” Coote said. “Ultimately the Saints were going in another direction and that’s the game, isn’t it, with the salary cap?
“It’s an act of juggling, trying to keep the young guys up by increasing their bids and making sure they’re locked in for a while, and in order for them to do that, they had to let go of some guys.
“Unfortunately that was the case for me, but I came to a club that really wants me and it’s a club that is going in the right direction. Coming here has refreshed everything.”
Coote’s capture was something of a coup for Rovers, who offered him the two-year deal he sought at his former club and announced his signing in July while the club were still outside the six first.
Tony Smith’s men not only secured their place in the play-offs, but won at Warrington to go within 80 minutes of a first grand final and Coote is hoping he can help them take that next step.
“I hope I can bring this professionalism and get us where we should be,” he said. “We’re not far behind these top four teams.”
Coote faces a race against time to get fit for the start of the new season on the second weekend in February after sustaining a shoulder injury in the playoffs.
The full-back defied injury to help St Helens achieve a hat-trick in the grand final by beating the Catalans Dragons at Old Trafford, but underwent surgery soon after.
He is now back in light training and is expected to start contact work in mid-January.
“The friendlies will probably miss me, but the physiotherapists are doing everything they can to make me good for the first round,” he said.